Monday, April 29, 2013

Kindergarten is Done!

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Sort of.

What I really mean to say is, "We did kindergarten for 36 weeks! Yay!" A typical school year is 180 days, or 36 weeks, of school. How a homeschool family divides that up depends on their situation; for us, we school year round with a roughly three-weeks-on/one-week-off schedule. That might change, but it works for now.

Like I wrote in this post, we didn't magically finish all of our kindergarten stuff at once. (We did have a pizza party, though!) And that's okay with me. It's actually worked out pretty well, since it's left us with plenty of material to work with until we get all of our first-grade curriculum assembled.

I didn't take any cute photos of The Boy holding a "Last Day of Kinder!" sign. There probably won't be any cute scrapbook pages made about it. All I have is this photo of a mess:

...from when I was sorting through all the kindergarten "stuff." We didn't even use a lot of what's pictured, but like I said, we're using it now. (Because I paid good money for it, dang it!)

One year--thirty-six weeks of school time--boggles my mind a little bit. (Don't laugh at me, homeschool veterans!) This has been a crazy, unexpected, sometimes hard, sometimes awesome journey. Thanks for reading along--your comments online and in real life have meant a lot to me.

So...let's keep moving forward! I'm excited to see what the next year brings, and I'm excited to share it with you here.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Kindergarten Art: Playdough Bugs!

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[This project was inspired by these Play Dough Bug Sculptures.]

We were learning about bugs a couple weeks ago--you know, head, thorax, abdomen, that kind of thing--so I thought we ought to do something buggy for our art project at the end of the week. Thanks to Pinterest, I found something SUPER easy and open-ended.

Here are our materials:

Pie for Breakfast: Kindergarten Art: Playdough Bugs
You can use whatever you've got around the house.
And here's one of my first bugs. As we all know, I'm really good at lots of intricate details and stuff.

Pie for Breakfast: Kindergarten Art: Playdough Bugs
Not. But at least he's cute, right?

The Boy spent most of his time on this Dangerous Bug:

Pie for Breakfast: Kindergarten Art: Playdough Bugs
I would die if I ever saw a bug like this in real life.
We also made some ladybugs, a caterpillar, tons of made-up bugs...we tried a butterfly, too, but it just looked lopsided and weird. Oh, well. I guess that's why God makes bugs, and we don't.

Anyway, we didn't do anything scientific or overly realistic with this. Just fun with odds and ends. It was a good wrap-up for our buggy week.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Kindergarten Read-Alouds: Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner

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I've had The Complete Tales & Poems of Winnie-the-Pooh on my shelf for years and years and years. I pulled it out to use as a read-aloud for The Boy toward the end of this year, and we had a...different...experience with it than I would have expected.

Your kids have probably seen the old Winnie the Pooh movies. (The Boy hadn't. We watched them afterward.) If they have, let them know right off that some of the stories are different from the movies. Some parts of the movies were lifted right out of the books, though, so that's fun.

Here's where our experience wasn't what I expected--some parts of the stories were hard for The Boy to follow. I thought (based on the movies) that they'd be easier, but they're written as though A.A. Milne were sitting right there telling them to you, so sentences go on and on forever (like this one), and he sometimes uses words that I had to stop and explain because of their British-ness, and sometimes he uses silly words that he probably got from Christopher Robin (the real one), and I'm done with this sentence now, but that's how large parts of the stories read.

Which is fine. And I expected The Boy to lose interest--but he didn't. There's something about Winnie-the-Pooh that kids love, even when they're not sure what the heck Rabbit is talking about. And I enjoyed reading them, because the characters are just so stinkin' sweet.

So we read all the way through both Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner. I'm not saying that you would have to, of course. We read some of the poems, too, but we were pretty tired of the book by then--it has about a bajillion pages.

So, overall, I'd recommend it as a read-aloud. And, whether your kids like the stories or not, have them watch the old Winnie-the-Pooh movies. I've never met a little kid that didn't like them.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Make Your Own Bubbles!

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Easter happened to be a gorgeous day, which is pretty rare here in the Pacific Northwest. We were at my parents' house, and The Boy really wanted to blow bubbles outside. But, try as we might, we couldn't find any bubble solution in the house. sister and I made some. (We used this recipe.) I really didn't want to go to the trouble of making it, but it wasn't much work. And it's a good way to use up old corn syrup that you might have lying around. It makes pretty strong bubbles--the smaller ones landed on the grass and didn't pop.

My sister, The Boy, and I took our homemade bubble brew outside and played for a long time in the sun.

Make Your Own Bubbles

Oh, did I forget to mention the fly swatters? After we mixed up the bubble solution, we realized that we didn't have bubble wands. Luckily, we found my grandma's old fly-swatters-turned-bubble-wands in the basement. If you want to make your own, just cut shapes out of the mesh part of a fly swatter. You'll get big- and medium-sized bubbles through the cut-out parts, and leetle tiny bubbles through the mesh. (My grandma was an early-elementary school teacher. She had tons of cool ideas like that.)

Anyway, The Boy tried his hand at the bubble blowing...

Make Your Own Bubbles

...but he really preferred to chase the bubbles that my sister and I blew.

And we kept blowing bubbles long after The Boy had gotten tired and gone into the house. Why waste perfectly good sunshine and bubbles?

Friday, April 5, 2013

Children's Books about Spring

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Hey, guys! Can you believe it's spring already? (I know, it's been spring for a couple of weeks. I'm a little slow sometimes.)

One of the ways that we celebrate the seasons at our house is by checking out library books that fit the season. I have a few spring-y books posted on my children's book review blog:

The Storybook Shelf

And we'll be checking out some new ones pretty soon. Do you have any good recommendations for books about spring?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Boy's Nerdy Future

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Don't call CPS--we don't actually let our six-year-old use a soldering iron. It's his dad's, and he's had it drilled into his little head that soldering irons are NOT for touching. Unless Dad says it's okay because Mom thinks it would make a cute picture.

I don't know whether The Boy will really grow up to be a soldering maniac like his father. But if he does, homeschooling gives us the freedom to let him explore that potential interest as much as he wants. Or his interest in cars. Or his interest in soccer. Or...his interest in soldering cars while playing soccer. Whatever. As long as his interests are legal, he's got our full support.
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